mixed bag

"Another Psycho" shoot - image via P3 Entertainment

A mixed bag update on this sunny Thursday:

We’re screening the HST short film we shot over the summer “Another Psycho” (the one we made with the $10,000 grant from the Friar’s Club!) tomorrow night at The PIT in an evening hosted by the HST girls. Looking forward to it. The awesome production company that helped us make the film, P3 Entertainment, posted some behind the scenes shots on their Facebook Page recently and it reminded me what a great time we had shooting our little movie.

The warmer weather and sunshine we’re enjoying in New York City today has certainly improved my mood.

I’m also feeling pretty good physically. I’ve lost 10 pounds since the beginning of the year doing the new Weight Watchers Points Plus program. (As you may or may not know, I lost 115 pounds in my early twenties through Weight Watchers. I put 10 of it back on last year because of a lack of food mindfulness and a change in my daily routine.) I wasn’t desperate to lose these 10 pounds – I was actually okay with having gained them – but I did want to avoid having to buy bigger pants and to have more energy, so it’s nice to have lost them. If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, this Points Plus thing they rolled out at the end of last year is pretty fantastic. I recommend it.

I haven’t been exercising a lick besides walking around the city and my occasional yoga practice, which is more than enough for me right now. I used to bang out 5-6 days a week at the gym – for years – and finally got to a point where that just wasn’t interesting to me any more. Maybe it will be again someday, but I’m not in the business of forcing myself to do things I really don’t want to do. So for now, this is fine. I am excited for the warmer weather to tempt me outside for an occasional jog or bike ride. Moral of that story: exercise to FEEL GOOD. Not to lose weight. And do active things you enjoy! No sense slogging through a workout feeling miserable. If you love the gym, go for it. If it’s not your thing, there are so many other options.

Career-wise, I’ve decided I need to be doing more. I do a lot right now as it is and I love it…and it’s also hectic and insane at times. But it makes me feel alive and happy when I have a lot of projects going at once. I’d rather err toward that than feeling bored or unmotivated. Gotta work hard while I’m young!

End transmission.

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not rocket science

My only New Year’s resolution this year is to wake up earlier.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a notoriously late sleeper. If I didn’t feel obligated to participate in adult society I might sleep until noon every day. When I was working for myself from home last year and had a much more flexible schedule I would struggle to get out of bed before 10am after staying up until 4.

But now my day job starts at 9:30. And I exhaust myself when I try to grab a few extra minutes of sleep and inevitably wake up later than I intend to and stumble out of bed, hoping to make coffee and get dressed while I’m still unconscious.

I’ve always known, deep down, that waking up earlier would be a positive thing for my life. I could imagine the cool, quiet mornings alone in my living room, sipping coffee, stretching out on a yoga mat, maybe doing some writing. But sleep is a vixen and despite my best intentions, I always let her lure me back in. There are few feelings I adore more than falling back to sleep after my alarm goes off. It’s perfection…Until the alarm goes off again.

I’m optimistic but cautious about this resolution. I don’t have any huge plans for how to spend my new, improved mornings. I’m actually curious to find out what I end up filling them with. And truth be told, this could end in complete defeat. But I bought a new programmable coffee maker that miraculously makes me hot coffee while I’m still asleep. And spending that $24.99 on this resolution means I’m serious.

So this morning I successfully woke up much earlier than I did on weekdays in 2010, and even though I initially sat on the edge of my bed for a few minutes toying with the idea of scraping the whole plan until 2012, I eventually got up, poured myself some magical mystery coffee, did 20 minutes of gentle yoga and then ate my toast while I watched the news.

It’s not rocket science, but I felt a little more centered as I walked into the office this morning than I usually do.

Being back at work today is fine. I hate it. And it’s fine. There’s always a bit of culture shock when you return to a job you’re not thrilled about after a great vacation. But I’m grateful for the money this job provides me to, for instance, travel for the holidays, buy gifts, go to the movies, get new sweaters, stock our fridge full of NOT cookies and all the other relaxing, wonderful things I did over the holiday break. And I will keep that in mind today as I slog through hundreds of emails and dozens of files, bills, documents and agreements.

Hopefully gifting myself a more peaceful morning will help the first Monday of my 2011 unfold gently. If not, the Chipotle burrito I plan to have for lunch today will surely do the trick.

it’s time for a pot of coffee

I’ve been snuggled up in my house watching Dexter and Weeds for the last 20 hours. It’s been fantastic.

Tonight we’ll venture out to a New Year’s Eve party in Greenpoint with good friends. I’m thinking we’ll cab there and back and really enjoy ourselves.

My only plan for tomorrow is a yoga class. An indulgent, yummy, relaxing one.

Right now I’m off to make a pot of coffee.

I’m having a great holiday break.

 

sunday night

I’m sick, dudes. Head cold. I am congested like whoa and I could sleep away the entire next week of my life if you let me. No big deal, but that’s the report.

It’s been a busy, whirlwind weekend – I barely even know it happened. We visited Kevin’s family today for Father’s Day, had a nice time (got to see the new baby again!), and now I’m on the couch watching some weird puppet game show. Actually, Kevin’s watching the puppet game show, I’m his TV hostage. It’s only fair – I usually commandeer the remote.

Some highlights of the week upcoming:

  • Harvard Sailing Team is up for a $10,000 prize in this weekend’s Friar’s Club Comedy Film Festival. We’re one of 5 sketch groups chosen to be finalists for the contest, and to compete in a live show this weekend. Winner gets $10K to make a short film. Fingers crossed!!! (Come see the show if you’re in New York! Saturday night @ The UCB.)
  • My (beautiful, talented, kind, hilarious) cousin Trisha is coming to New York for the first time in years on Saturday. She’s gonna be here for a work conference but I’m hoping to trick her into spending a ton of time with me. And there will be margaritas.
  • I’m writing a weekly column in July for Spring Inspiration (!) and I’m stoked. I’ll be working on my first column tomorrow.
  • It’s summer! This Monday is the longest day of the year. I adore long summer evenings.
  • Cheap yoga: I decided to buy Vida Yoga NYC’s deal – $10 for one week of unlimited yoga and I’m loving it!

Good night, guys. The theraflu is kicking in.

yoga in your living room

Yoga Download is my favorite place to find good yoga classes on the web.

They just released a brand new class!! Gentle Hatha #3. Best of all, the 20-minute version is FREE to download. I can’t wait to try it.

I’ve tried a few other podcasts or live streaming classes on other sites over the years, but none of them compare, in my opinion, to Yoga Download. I haven’t been paid or compensated in any way to say this, I just really like their site.

I started practicing yoga a few years ago when I threw my back out (while lifting weights, no less) and found myself hobbling around like an old, grouchy police detective who carries a heavy gun holster. There was little else I could do in the form of exercise for quite some time, so yoga became a staple in my life. I think starting a yoga practice may have saved me from a lifetime of further pain and injury.

Sadly, I haven’t been doing any yoga for the last few weeks though, choosing to prioritize other things before my health, which is never a wise move. So when I turned on a 20-minute Gentle Hatha class from Yoga Download yesterday and laid down on my mat, I could almost feel my muscles and bones thanking me for the attention.

The 20-minute classes on YD are all FREE and they’re great. They’re simple to follow, come in all styles and levels and leave me feeling like I’ve done something good for myself, even if only for 20 minutes. Of course YD offers longer classes too, which are also very inexpensive. Oh and they have videos, if you’d rather watch than listen, and printable pose guides if you’re confused about what you’re doing! Fantastic for your living room practice.

best cheap yoga in nyc

Kevin and I like to talk about what we’d do if we suddenly had an abundance of money. I don’t mean millions (although, I think he’s hoping for millions), just enough to indulge from time to time.

One of the first things on my list is a monthly membership to one of my favorite yoga studios in NYC. Formal yoga classes in New York can be pricey – often more expensive than a gym membership. My favorite studio offers an unlimited monthly pass for $125. Oof. Too rich for my blood.

But there are ways to spend a little less on the best yoga classes in the city – if you’re willing to be flexible. (Pun delightfully intended.)

Best Cheap Yoga in Manhattan:

Ishta Yoga – (Update! I just got an email from Ishta – they’re offering a deal this Monday, May 17: an unlimited month of classes for $30. That’s a steal, since a month usually costs $125. Go here if you want to buy it.) This studio offers my favorite yoga class experience by far. The environment is calming, the rooms are big, the teachers are fantastic.  And they focus more on your relationship to your body, the earth, and your spirituality, rather than obsessing over making every pose perfect.

Unfortunately their single classes are the most expensive I’ve ever seen in the city. $22 for one class! (I treated myself to that price once, but never again. I just can’t afford it.) However, if you’re a new student, you can buy an unlimited monthly pass for $60! That’s a great deal. I took advantage of it earlier this year and it got me hooked on Ishta. They also offer a lovely meditation class with the studio’s founder, Alan Finger, included in the monthly unlimited membership, or $30 to drop-in.

Yoga to the People – Good, cheap “yoga for everyone.” They claim no celebrated teachers, no correct attire, no judgments, no right answers – just basic, happy yoga for anybody. For a mere $5, I love their hot power Vinyasa class. It’s an hour-long ass-kicking experience in a small, cramped room with people who’ve never done yoga in their lives alongside those who practice every day. Once you get past the hectic energy of the previous class leaving while your class enters, it can be a lot of fun. Most of the teachers are very good and they don’t take any of it too seriously. With three separate locations in town, YTTP also offers a “traditional” hot yoga classes (Bikram style), and a power Vinyasa class that isn’t hot (suggested donation!) – both of which are supposed to be great and are cheaper than lunch in Midtown.

Om Yoga – This Union Square yoga staple has been around forever. With dozens of master teachers and a lot of classes to choose from, it’s a great place to be a beginner or to deepen your practice. Their schedule changes every month and their drop-in prices are standard (between $14-17), but they also offer a “community” class a couple times a week for just $5. Taught by people just finishing their teacher training, the community classes aren’t as insightful as the regular ones, but they do the trick.

Kula Yoga – I did poses I’d never done before when I took a class at Kula. It’s often easy for yoga classes to feel very similar to one another; Kula’s innovative teachers make sure that doesn’t happen. Their drop-in fee is $18, but you can take advantage of their “new student special” and pay $30 for a three-class package. A sweet deal.

Vida Yoga – Located near the heart of NYU’s campus, Vida offers $5 classes for first-timers with a student ID, as well as a one-time week of unlimited classes for $10. This is the one studio on my list that I’ve never been to, but have really been dying to try. I’ll take advantage of that awesome $10 deal soon and I promise a review once I do.

I hope you won’t let the potentially high price of yoga in Manhattan stop you from seeking out good classes, great teachers and top-notch studios! You can practice yoga on any budget.

But if you come into millions, go ahead and splurge.

five months later – where I am now

(Photo by the very talented Eric Michael Pearson. And yes, I wore that outfit on CBS too. I guess I need another nice outfit…)

Harvard Sailing Team was in the Cosmopolitan Magazine blog tonight! These videos just won’t stop. It’s nice. Definitely nice.

Here’s an article I wrote on Gather about the hot press HST’s gotten in the last two days alone.

For my part, I’m having fun with this ride, for sure. I’m also in the midst of learning how to juggle all the stuff that’s popped up lately! Between the bakery, writing for Gather, writing for The Examiner, Harvard Sailing Team, The Baldwins AND Jen+Steve, my life is busy right now! It’s lovely of course, because it’s a wonderful kind of busy filled with all the things I like to do in my life (!!). But you still have to learn to make time for it all. Until yesterday, I hadn’t exercised in a week. I’m still practicing how to strike the balance.

On Thursday of next week, I’m headed to Chicago for the Chicago Improv Festival with Jen+Steve. We were featured in Time Out Chicago yesterday. Pffft. Very nice. Thanks, Chicago! (The other team we’re going with, Swords, was featured in the Chicago Tribune!)

(Photo by Eric Michael Pearson.)

It’s fun to learn to adjust to this new busy lifestyle. I remember the months of January and February, which were dark, cold, boring months when I was so un-busy that I did a 30-Day Yoga Challenge! Ha.

Tomorrow night is an HST show – looking forward to it! We have some great stuff lined up. I mentioned on here a couple months ago that I was taking a 3-month hiatus from the team. Well, hiatus taken, and I’m “coming back” a bit earlier than expected.

Other news? Faryn wrote a great post about Fanny & Jane at the Greenpoint Food Market. If you live in NYC and you haven’t been to the GFM, you should come. You guys! It’s totally cute and great. They’ve got live music. It’s indoors, which is not quite as fabulous as being outdoors in the warmer months, but it’s not that big of a place so you can do the whole thing in less than an hour, and the atmosphere is so fun and lively, you barely miss being outside. So many fabulous, up and coming Brooklyn food vendors present their wares at this market, and most offer free samples.

Last, but certainly not least in this update, I took a yoga class today for the first time in a very long time. It was bliss. And I also hung out with little Otto Grimwood today, who always reminds me what being in the moment looks like.